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Difference between Traditional and Eclectic Witchcraft?


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#21 Wytchywoman

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 12:16 PM

For me the term eclectic is more of a Wiccan concept. The idea of piecing things together like a quilt is, in my opinion, is not traditional witchcraft because the traditional witch learns to blend and meld along their journey.... My witchcraft practices include many elements from various cultures, but I do not consider myself eclectic. I have another post in "Witches?" that may help you to understand more of the difference.

This seems to be more of an issue of terminology. Blending, melding, practicing from various elements seems to be pretty much what eclectics do. However, I am seeing that you and others have had quite a bit of experience with those that state they are eclectic, appear to have little/or no difference from wiccans or are very ceremonial and modern in their ways. I have encountered much of the same thing myself so I can see why this would be the first assumption when hearing that some one is eclectic. But I do think it is possible for some one to be technically eclectic and a trad as long as they aren't falling into the wiccan or ceremonial ways. I have considered myself eclectic of sorts but your feed back as well as others is giving me food for thought in regards to if I want to continue to consider myself as such. I wouldn't want any misunderstandings arising that I follow wicca of any sort, or am ceremonial, especially if the term itself is more wiccan in concept. So I thank you (and others) for the thought provoking posts!

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#22 Blacksmith

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 06:47 PM

This seems to be more of an issue of terminology. Blending, melding, practicing from various elements seems to be pretty much what eclectics do. However, I am seeing that you and others have had quite a bit of experience with those that state they are eclectic, appear to have little/or no difference from wiccans or are very ceremonial and modern in their ways. I have encountered much of the same thing myself so I can see why this would be the first assumption when hearing that some one is eclectic. But I do think it is possible for some one to be technically eclectic and a trad as long as they aren't falling into the wiccan or ceremonial ways. I have considered myself eclectic of sorts but your feed back as well as others is giving me food for thought in regards to if I want to continue to consider myself as such. I wouldn't want any misunderstandings arising that I follow wicca of any sort, or am ceremonial, especially if the term itself is more wiccan in concept. So I thank you (and others) for the thought provoking posts!


In traditions such as Palo Mayombe, Voodoo, Santeria, Umbanda, Kimbanda, Maya brujeria, Mexican brujeria, and the list goes on.....there is what is called syncretism. Syncretism is where traditions and practices meet with other cultures and the traditions and practices meld in some form. This is not "eclectic", this is the natural flow and evolution of a practice. Throughout history, even back to the beginnings of civilization, religions and magic practices blended with the traditions of others that people (often merchants and hierarchy of the time) would encounter through trade routes, enemy capture, slavery, and also as the concept of cultural exchange become kind of the first scholarly pursuit before the concept of a university. So, either all mankind since the early period of civilization is "eclectic"....or they as we are now, are influenced and evolve through syncretism. In Hoodoo there was a variety of cultures amongst the slaves that exchanged information on magic and this evolved. Then the introduction by some of the whites of certain European traditions, especially the Bible and Jewish magic based on kabbalah. They further evolved through the introduction of working with local roots and herbs by the Native Americans, a practice common in Africa, but the flora here is different.


I don't see being "eclectic" as a form of cultural exchange and syncretism. I have been influenced by working with Chippewa medicine men, Mexican brujos (traditional witch), Afro-Cuban/Afro-Brazilian/Afro-American/Afro-Haitian witchcraft and beliefs. I have practiced with these people. I have undergone tests and trials, and pushed my limits. At least 90% of my learning has been through traditional cultural exchange and hands-on work, not from archeology, anthropology, and the latest fads on the book shelf. In a sense, yes we are all eclectic, it is the nature of the evolution of paths globally. However, I don't like to be called eclectic, as is the case also with others in African diaspora practices, because the term has more of a modern connotation of piecing together without the experience. It is seen (from my point of view as well as many others I know personally), as someone that is not experienced, but rather just assumes into their practices things they don't understand because they are trying to re-invent practices from an outsiders perspective. I see often people coming into the Hoodoo shop I work at as a reader wanting to learn these practices. Most of the time when I ask them how long they intend to learn they tell me they are here for 3 days. They explain how they have been practicing Wicca or they are "Druids" or they dabble in this and dabble in that, and they have read many books. So, this to me is a true eclectic...a faker.

I am sure others will vary in their ideas of "eclectic". The difference between traditional witch and eclectic witch to me is almost like saying that Picasso and the person that bought the paint by numbers kit are equally skilled and knowledgeable as an artist. I have never met anyone that calls themselves eclectic that has had any experience outside of following instructions in books or possibly learning modern ceremonial Wicca in a coven. However, to be fair, I am sure there are some that use the word just as a generalized label. I know how difficult it can be to try to determine the linguistics and vocabulary of witchcraft. Please keep in mind too that my perspective is from African diaspora, Native American, and Latin American traditional witchcraft. Those that follow mostly European paths will have a different way of looking at things quite often. Whatever you all call yourselves, I am happy to see people seeking and exchanging knowledge and ideas about traditional witchcraft. I think there are many on this forum that are well worth communicating with.

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#23 Dream Walker

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:42 PM

I must say that is a very well put post Blacksmith! Revisionist perspectives can be ravenous forces at times.
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#24 Wytchywoman

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:44 PM

Thank you Blacksmith,

For sharing a more profound analogy and though provoking post. Perhaps a better term that those of us that adapt to various ways, ideas and make our own ought to be an evolving trad witch rather than eclectic. If you don't mind, I would recommend those trad witches (that truly are and are absolutely not some wiccan medley (yep they do exist)) that think they are eclectic to give your views on the subject a read. It's well worth it for sure!

Edited by Wytchywoman, 14 June 2011 - 08:46 PM.

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#25 winter night

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 09:55 PM

really enjoying this thread! I will try to put across my own thoughts on this best I can.

Most of what I have discovered has been through a progression of finding one stepping stone or marker, and this then leading and spreading out to others, like a road map.

There is a growth, a ripple outwards which encompasses many things, but is can all be linked back through to me at the source. It is my own instincts and interest which ignite my curiosity to learn more, do more, explore and take each step further (I know alot of step stuff in this! ;) )

To me, the word eclectic would suggest a randomness to someones way of working, bringing something in without the road map being there first - like trying to build a bridge from one side of the river when you are standing on the other side.

I know the word ecletic means many things to many people, but just my instincial thoughts on this!:chakrahearts:


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#26 Guest_Magdalena_*

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:09 PM

Hi All.

I was wondering if anyone would like to share their thoughts on the difference between Traditional and Eclectic witchcraft. From what I know, Eclectics feel free to pick and choose from different paths. As far as I can tell Traditional Witches follow the customs of what we know about pre-Wiccan witches (practicing herbalism, healing, meditations, spells etc.) without a defined religious core.

Can you be eclectic and traditional, or are the two mutually exclusive?

Thanks for any thoughts!
Errin / Pirkkodiva


To me Traditional Witchcraft is one path (the source) that encompasses many divisions.(that is the only way I can think of how to describe what I mean) To follow other paths (not just one but numerous paths) outside of and maybe including TW, I would term as "Eclectic".

I enjoy many different genres of music not just one genre, ie: metal, death metal, prog metal.

So my taste in music is eclectic, the path I follow (Traditional Witchcraft) is not. (IMHO)


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#27 LdyShalott

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:55 PM

In traditions such as Palo Mayombe, Voodoo, Santeria, Umbanda, Kimbanda, Maya brujeria, Mexican brujeria, and the list goes on.....there is what is called syncretism. Syncretism is where traditions and practices meet with other cultures and the traditions and practices meld in some form. This is not "eclectic", this is the natural flow and evolution of a practice. Throughout history, even back to the beginnings of civilization, religions and magic practices blended with the traditions of others that people (often merchants and hierarchy of the time) would encounter through trade routes, enemy capture, slavery, and also as the concept of cultural exchange become kind of the first scholarly pursuit before the concept of a university. So, either all mankind since the early period of civilization is "eclectic"....or they as we are now, are influenced and evolve through syncretism. In Hoodoo there was a variety of cultures amongst the slaves that exchanged information on magic and this evolved. Then the introduction by some of the whites of certain European traditions, especially the Bible and Jewish magic based on kabbalah. They further evolved through the introduction of working with local roots and herbs by the Native Americans, a practice common in Africa, but the flora here is different.


Syncretism has been a subject of interest and research for me over the past year. Most definitions are it is an "attempt" to reconcile disparate, even opposing, beliefs and to blend practices of varying schools of thought. It is especially associated with the "attempt" to merge several originally distinct traditions of theology, mythology and religion, forming unity.In addition to the ones you mentioned there is the Shinto/Buddhism, Egyptians/Greeks, Romans/Celts and Xianity /Euro /Native American infusions. If all of these seemingly different paths can be integrated without conflict and actually meld into a new path then there must be more similarities than differences. Is it animism, or shamanism? Is it survival? I dont know.. just where my mind has been...

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#28 CelticGypsy

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 06:26 PM

I've pondered this too. Being so drawn to my heritage I find it linking itself to animism, but sure have felt this strange tug intriguing me to take my blinders off and look some more into shamanism. In my Celtic beliefs I resonate with the divinities in all life possessing forms, yet I pull back as I don't want to fall into the "worship" realm. That's my conumdrum ! grr.

Regards,
Gypsy

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#29 Blacksmith

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:20 PM

Two interesting posts here. First, syncretism takes on different forms based on the traditions introduced together. Generally, with the Catholic Church, traditions meld because of that pagan/magic ideology within the Church. Such as the use of talismans and the veneration of ancestors (saints). Often traditional cultures can see similarities in the beliefs so they become integrated or more importantly hidden within. There is a Catholic church in Guatemala that the priest had to have a door put in the floor of the church main sanctuary. It was a place where the Maya shamans placed ritual offerings for certain issues and the church was unknowingly built on this site. So, the traditional Maya would come in at certain times, break up the wooden floor and dig a hole again. This happened a few times before the priest decided to just put the door in. So, some Catholic beliefs were incorporated within the Maya beliefs, mainly the concept of one original God, and the Church had to accept the practices of the Maya into the Church, although they do not like to do this.

In Haitian and American Voodoo the Lwa (various spirits, not gods like in paganism) are synchronized with Catholic saints, but it has nothing to do with the saints, it has to do with the icon of the saint having elements of symbolism that match with the Lwa. So, in some cases syncrenized practices may not be so melded together as they may appear on the surface to outsiders. Some Voodoo initiates will worship in the Catholic church, but they are there venerating Lwa, not saints, and God is not actually Jesus or Yehweh, it is Mawu-Lisa.

On the issue of animism and shamanism. Shamanism is based on animism, not on deity worship. Even religious traditions that have their root in shamanism, such as Voodoo, do not generally worship a deity, as they believe deity is too distant and that are interaction is with animistic spirits, ancestors and the dead, earth, and beings like the Lwa or Orisha which may be the higher and intellectual powers of animism or may be an ancestor that was elevated for lack of better terms here. The practice of animism, tree veneration, and such is a shamanic practice among the ancient Celts. In Chinese Taoism the original practice was shamanic and called Tao jia. It views animism and the ultimate energy, Tao (the "Way") without deities. It is the newer Taoism that worships deities.

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#30 CelticGypsy

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:45 PM

On the issue of animism and shamanism. Shamanism is based on animism, not on deity worship. Even religious traditions that have their root in shamanism, such as Voodoo, do not generally worship a deity, as they believe deity is too distant and that are interaction is with animistic spirits, ancestors and the dead, earth, and beings like the Lwa or Orisha which may be the higher and intellectual powers of animism or may be an ancestor that was elevated for lack of better terms here. The practice of animism, tree veneration, and such is a shamanic practice among the ancient Celts. In Chinese Taoism the original practice was shamanic and called Tao jia. It views animism and the ultimate energy, Tao (the "Way") without deities. It is the newer Taoism that worships deities.


From what I'm experiancing along this thought process is, the so-called civilized world has always used the term
"shaman" interchangeably with "medicine man" and "witch doctor". Sometimes this combined thinking is appropriate, sometimes not. A shaman can be a medicine mand, but a medicine man is not necessarily a shaman. Perhaps in a true sence, the shaman is a healer, priest, mystic, and poet. Liken to all Druids are Celts, but not all Celts are Druids. I think a true shaman is a usually a healer first, a prophet second. The shaman makes the journey into the Otherworlds, he/she is offering her/his own self to help another. To be an intermediary between the different worlds, I believe that is a shaman's responsibilty. Just my thoughts, from what I've been wrestling with.

I don't know Tao, I'm just bouncing my thoughts off to you Blacksmith and my other Peers.

Regards,
Gypsy

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#31 White Bear

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:31 AM

When Gramayr gave the soup analogy, I asked myself, “What if you have ancestors from both England and India? Is your soup traditional or eclectic? Perhaps it could be called a syncretic soup, given that it evolved from a natural meeting and melding of different cultures. ;)

With exceptions, I agree with Blacksmith that animist traditions don’t necessarily have much to do with gods. They may have gods, but view them as being rather distant and inaccessible (like Haitian Vodou’s Bondye).

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#32 Blacksmith

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 01:34 AM

From what I'm experiancing along this thought process is, the so-called civilized world has always used the term
"shaman" interchangeably with "medicine man" and "witch doctor". Sometimes this combined thinking is appropriate, sometimes not. A shaman can be a medicine mand, but a medicine man is not necessarily a shaman. Perhaps in a true sence, the shaman is a healer, priest, mystic, and poet. Liken to all Druids are Celts, but not all Celts are Druids. I think a true shaman is a usually a healer first, a prophet second. The shaman makes the journey into the Otherworlds, he/she is offering her/his own self to help another. To be an intermediary between the different worlds, I believe that is a shaman's responsibilty. Just my thoughts, from what I've been wrestling with.

I don't know Tao, I'm just bouncing my thoughts off to you Blacksmith and my other Peers.

Regards,
Gypsy


Shamanism is a calling. The shaman creates a union with both Earth and the spirit world. Some techniques cross over into various traditions of witchcraft. Most of the roots and herbs used in witchcraft generally originated with shamans working with earth spirits and ancestors to gain ethnobotanical cures and magic remedies. This is true of many cultures. The shaman is always a healer. Shamanism has many faces because it is found all over the world. It takes on cultural overtones, but at its heart, shamans serve the same role within tribal communities to act as healers, intercessors with the spirits, and advisers in matters of hunting, gathering, and agriculture. They work to cure, to make the crops successful, to make the hunt or fishing bountiful, and to offer wisdom about the earth and spirit world. Only the shaman or spiritualist witch or spiritualist priest (as in Vodou) are seen as those that can intercede between the spirit world and the physical world. So, if a crop is failing it is seen as a problem with the spirit world, because the spirits are destroying instead of assisting. I have studied with shamans and received a kind of first grade initiation that was also considered "medicine" for me. There was a period of tests in nature, then I was accepted into the sweat lodge where the gates are opened to both positive and negative spirits are called by the medicine man/ shaman while we were in trance from extreme heat, chanting, and drumming. The initiation was to find balance and strength while this spirit world gate was open. This of course does not make me a medicine man, it just means that I have been able to pass a few tests. The medicine aspect is that I needed to better understand my path and gateways. "Medicine" sometimes can be about knowledge or experience, not just physical or mental cures. I learned from a shaman what my totem is also and what that means about me and also my connection with wildlife, again an animistic belief. Which I do hold. It is usually the case that only one or few members of a village are shamans. However, in the case of the Celts, it is my understanding that the Druids / Shamans would have been essential in developing any kind of spiritual path or religion. There are many signs of it, such as the tree calender, spirals, the bard tradition, etc.. this leads me to believe that although not all Celts were shamans, most if not all, would have been taught much and believed much in the way of their shamans, and so their practices and culture grow around these few people. All throughout history the shamans, followed by the religions have had a strong hand in cultural and social guidance. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to go back in time and live among the Celts for awhile to learn their ways and the deeper lessons these people surely had. Anyways, hope that helps.

--Blacksmith

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#33 Guest_Elfyd_*

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 01:51 AM

Thank you for your insights Blacksmith, your perspectives are always commanding and illuminating, even if wasted on one such as I.

If I may quote from a Nigel Pennick book:
"According to ancient Druidic ethics, the three principle endeavours are to learn and collect knowledge; the second is to teach them; whilst the third is to make peace and to put an end to all injury. To carry out the third endeavour is the objective of the previous two."

I find this interesting indeed, I also believe that any Druidic scholar here will most likely voice their own opinion.


FFFF
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#34 Blacksmith

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 07:28 AM

Thank you for your insights Blacksmith, your perspectives are always commanding and illuminating, even if wasted on one such as I.

If I may quote from a Nigel Pennick book:
"According to ancient Druidic ethics, the three principle endeavours are to learn and collect knowledge; the second is to teach them; whilst the third is to make peace and to put an end to all injury. To carry out the third endeavour is the objective of the previous two."

I find this interesting indeed, I also believe that any Druidic scholar here will most likely voice their own opinion.

FFFF
Elf.


Seems to me that I am not wasting anything on you. Thanks for the compliments. What I get out of that statement is that seeking unity within oneself and with earth and the spirit world is the goal, because this would end all injury within the seeker. The concept being that all are connected, therefore a person is severed from the unity of being and existence, severed is an injury in a way. In my tradition we must unite with Earth and the spirit world. Able to walk in both at the same time. We must make peace with our Lwa and then we are blessed...an end to injury. I wonder sometimes if some of these other cultures practiced in somewhat similar ways to African and African diaspora traditions. Just what comes to mind for me, based on my tradition. Maybe the Celts principles have nothing to do with my thoughts on them.

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#35 ejfinch

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 11:47 AM

From what I've been told by the one Medicine Woman that I know, Native American Medicine Men/Women do not use the term "shaman". It seems to me that that this is exactly what they are, they just do not use that term.

M personal opinion is that, whether you call yourself a Shaman, Medicine Person, Witch, it doesn't really matter. All are using herbal medicines, manipulating energy, working with the spirit world, etc. I feel that the labels are purely a matter of geography. I also feel that the use of various tool, props, rituals are all, basically, window dressing-no matter what you call yourself. Focus items yes, useful at times-yes, but necessary-definatley not, at least not for a true witch.

Not everyone has access to a teacher, a family tradition, or an opportunity for any kind of an initiation. Does this make them any less of a witch or any less powerful, I truly do not believe it does. As has been said many times, it is within the witch, for her/him to find, explore and utilize-nothing more, nothing less.

Surely not every witch/shaman/Medicine Person in history belonged to a tribe or clan, many lived miles from the next sign of life in their area. How can we explain their abilities if they are not found within and from personal journeying to learn from spirits? As has been discussed before, being a witch is who you are- not something you can learn from a book or suddenly gain from a specific ritual. Rites of passage and discovering one's abilities can take many forms and they all don't fit into neat little boxes with pretty words and impressive titles.

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#36 Guest_MissTree_*

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 02:52 PM

I like what you're saying. Especially this part.

I also feel that the use of various tool, props, rituals are all, basically, window dressing-no matter what you call yourself. Focus items yes, useful at times-yes, but necessary-definatley not, at least not for a true witch.

Not everyone has access to a teacher, a family tradition, or an opportunity for any kind of an initiation. Does this make them any less of a witch or any less powerful, I truly do not believe it does. As has been said many times, it is within the witch, for her/him to find, explore and utilize-nothing more, nothing less.


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#37 Blacksmith

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 08:48 PM

From what I've been told by the one Medicine Woman that I know, Native American Medicine Men/Women do not use the term "shaman". It seems to me that that this is exactly what they are, they just do not use that term.

M personal opinion is that, whether you call yourself a Shaman, Medicine Person, Witch, it doesn't really matter. All are using herbal medicines, manipulating energy, working with the spirit world, etc. I feel that the labels are purely a matter of geography. I also feel that the use of various tool, props, rituals are all, basically, window dressing-no matter what you call yourself. Focus items yes, useful at times-yes, but necessary-definatley not, at least not for a true witch.

Not everyone has access to a teacher, a family tradition, or an opportunity for any kind of an initiation. Does this make them any less of a witch or any less powerful, I truly do not believe it does. As has been said many times, it is within the witch, for her/him to find, explore and utilize-nothing more, nothing less.

Surely not every witch/shaman/Medicine Person in history belonged to a tribe or clan, many lived miles from the next sign of life in their area. How can we explain their abilities if they are not found within and from personal journeying to learn from spirits? As has been discussed before, being a witch is who you are- not something you can learn from a book or suddenly gain from a specific ritual. Rites of passage and discovering one's abilities can take many forms and they all don't fit into neat little boxes with pretty words and impressive titles.


I agree that a person is or is not a witch, and it does not matter if the witch has teachers, reads a lot of books, or has no tools. This is one reason why the ndoki (Kongo witch) is feared. They are naturally gifted as witches. Many bokors (Haitian Creole for male sorcerer) also do not have formal training. It is the Lwa (guiding spirit), in my tradition, that teaches the most. I believe my spirits have opened the way to spend time with certain teachers. Early along my journey, before I even had a thought about African diaspora I was already able to do certain things naturally, but I began to seek a path. I wanted to know where I fit and to be with others like me. I also wanted to know more from a physical human teacher. I wanted to have this opportunity and so I sought it out. I had to do a lot of work to start meeting the right people. I turned this way and that trying to, really, know what others like me are like and what they know. My tradition was a surprise to me, but everything just fell into place, I began to understand the what, how, and why of what I can do and the path I am strongly drawn to. I had to struggle with myself very much in accepting this path. Finally, that heart drawn sense overwhelmed me and I knew where I belonged and accepted it.
This is certainly not for everyone. Many witches follow the spirits or earth or whatever in their own way. Somehow they are guided, I believe everyone has a guardian spirit, I know that some do not believe in this. The first witches, whatever their title is according to their culture and tradition, didn't have books or teachers. They were explorers that dared to push someway into the unknown that called to them. Whether the deeper energies of Earth, ancestors, etc.. they followed the call. In some places and times there has been danger to call oneself by any title. Titles are just descriptive words, the attempt to communicate an idea, not to be flashy or impressive. They may relate to a specific tradition or they may just be generally descriptive.
As far as every witch/shaman/Medicine Person not belonging to a tribe or clan, these terms denote family and culture of birth, so they had to be from some clan or tribe. However, I know that there are and were shamans, witches, etc. that do live and/or do their work outside of the village or town away from their tribe/clan. Ndoki sometimes live in a Congo jungle that is named Ndoki, far from their tribes. This is an ancient practice that remains today, but not all the ndoki do this. Many stay within the village. The issue is that these witches were naturally called to the path and so they refuse the religious craft of the village and practice on their own. This is seen as very suspicious to others, because the ndoki does his/her work secretly and not in view of the community. Therefore, they can be accused of witchcraft even today. So, moving to the jungle is a way to be who they are and not be accused by their tribe. I would think that this issue would be true of at least some cultures outside of Congo. I would also think that some tribes around the world have a taboo against a witch/shaman/etc.. being directly in the village. Many cultures have various ways and means.
The point about " it is within the witch, for her/him to find, explore and utilize-nothing more, nothing less." I think is essential to any traditional witch regardless of how their path becomes defined or remains abstract. For some they are comfortable with the abstract. That sense of awe and wonder as one journeys into the unknown and explores the witch within and the world around through witch's eyes. This is a deep and important aspect of any TW's path, in my opinion. Someone does not have to define their path or connect with others. I felt a desire to connect with the ancestors and others. I think everyone has a path unique to them, and this is esteemed and practiced by all in my tradition. I know some people that their path does not call to me or sometimes even make sense, but I can see that they are authentic people and authentic witches or whatever title their tradition carries.

-- Blacksmith

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#38 CelticGypsy

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 10:46 PM

Shamanism is a calling. The shaman creates a union with both Earth and the spirit world. Some techniques cross over into various traditions of witchcraft. Most of the roots and herbs used in witchcraft generally originated with shamans working with earth spirits and ancestors to gain ethnobotanical cures and magic remedies. This is true of many cultures. The shaman is always a healer. Shamanism has many faces because it is found all over the world. It takes on cultural overtones, but at its heart, shamans serve the same role within tribal communities to act as healers, intercessors with the spirits, and advisers in matters of hunting, gathering, and agriculture. They work to cure, to make the crops successful, to make the hunt or fishing bountiful, and to offer wisdom about the earth and spirit world. Only the shaman or spiritualist witch or spiritualist priest (as in Vodou) are seen as those that can intercede between the spirit world and the physical world. So, if a crop is failing it is seen as a problem with the spirit world, because the spirits are destroying instead of assisting. I have studied with shamans and received a kind of first grade initiation that was also considered "medicine" for me. There was a period of tests in nature, then I was accepted into the sweat lodge where the gates are opened to both positive and negative spirits are called by the medicine man/ shaman while we were in trance from extreme heat, chanting, and drumming. The initiation was to find balance and strength while this spirit world gate was open. This of course does not make me a medicine man, it just means that I have been able to pass a few tests. The medicine aspect is that I needed to better understand my path and gateways. "Medicine" sometimes can be about knowledge or experience, not just physical or mental cures. I learned from a shaman what my totem is also and what that means about me and also my connection with wildlife, again an animistic belief. Which I do hold. It is usually the case that only one or few members of a village are shamans. However, in the case of the Celts, it is my understanding that the Druids / Shamans would have been essential in developing any kind of spiritual path or religion. There are many signs of it, such as the tree calender, spirals, the bard tradition, etc.. this leads me to believe that although not all Celts were shamans, most if not all, would have been taught much and believed much in the way of their shamans, and so their practices and culture grow around these few people. All throughout history the shamans, followed by the religions have had a strong hand in cultural and social guidance. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to go back in time and live among the Celts for awhile to learn their ways and the deeper lessons these people surely had. Anyways, hope that helps.

--Blacksmith


Thank you, it's like the 5th time I've read this ! lol. One could very well substitute any English word or another cultural word, as in Haitian. and find it resonating. Substitute the word Shaman, for Druid, and still come away with a sample that holds truth for that particular persons path work. I stand on what I've posted before regarding Druids and Celts,
That all Druids were Celts, yet all Celts were not Druids. From what I've come to know, Druids chose their student, and the student was fairly young, not indocrinated to what the world was doing around them, the Druids taught the student, what is the world conveying to you ? Look within basic and simple. Much like the Shaman, yet I believe the Shaman, had initiation rites and rituals to cement their path, to themselves, understanding that it can be a lonely labourous journey. Not for the faint of heart or the insecure. My opinion only.
Regards,
Gypsy

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" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#39 Jevne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:49 AM

I especially like Blacksmith's discussions and references in this thread; however, since they are lengthy, I will bump the entire thread, instead of specific post(s). For the most part, I share his perspective in this regard.

Jevne

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#40 Hannah

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 10:31 AM

Thanks so much for bumping this Jevne!

Blacksmith's descriptions resonate very strongly with my own beliefs and experiences. However, with his knowledge and experience of native practices he illustrates them so clearly that it cuts through semantics and lays the issues bare.

Less semantics more practice and experiential focus FTW!!!

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